Produced in the early 1970s, "Hook Down, Wheels Down" was one of the most comprehensive (and expensive) films made by the U.S. Navy. It covers the history and development of the U.S. aircraft carrier, and does so through interviews with many of the men who made it happen. While dozens of aircraft carriers are featured, it is the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) that takes center stage -- and the material shot on her deck looks like it is right out of "Top Gun". There is wonderful flight op footage, great aerial flight footage, incredible WWII dog fightand bombing footage as well as endless aircraft carrier operational footage. Also shown in this film are very rare images of the first aircraft carrier USS Langley (CV-1) (formerly collier USS Jupiter AC-3).
The follow on vessels are widely featured including USS Lexington (CV-3) and the USS Yorktown (CV-5) in the Battle of Coral Sea. Also featured: USS Saratoga (CV-2), USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Hornet (CV-8), USS Wasp (CV-7), USS Ranger (CV-4), USS Yorktown (CV-5), USS Essex (CV-9), USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60), the British carrier HMS Furious, the destroyer USS Zeilin (DD-313), and many other warships. Various incidents are shown from Pearl Harbor, Midway, Coral Sea, the capture of the submarine U-505, the Marianas Turkey Shoot, the Doolittle Raid on Japan, and more. Includes interviews or appearances by many WWII naval aviators and aces including Wade McClusky, John Jay Courtney, Billy Mitchell, Gerald Bogen, Leslie Generes, John S. Thatch (of "Thatch Weave" fame), Ensign George Gay, David Campbell (whose Minsi III appears in the film), Edward "Butch" O'Hare, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn Curtiss, Clark Gable and Wallace Beery.
Planes seen in the film include the Wright Brothers flier, biplanes, Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the NC-4 Flying Boat, Hellcat, Avenger, Corsair, Vindicator, Devastator, Wildcat, and Japanese Zero. Also seen in the film: dogfights, combat flying, the Washington Conference on battleships, the Panama Canal exercise of 192